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Kale with Oat Dumplings, Shallots and Pork Tenderloin
In the northern part of Germany “Grünkohl mit Pinkel” is a traditional winter dish. It is basically a combination of kale (in German “Grünkohl”), oatmeal, onion and a smoked pork sausage made with oatmeal called “Pinkel”. You can find this dish at almost every winter festival like christmas markets, where it is prepared continuously in huge steaming pans. The main advantages of this dish are, that it is made completely from local produce, it is very simple to prepare, scales well and reheating is no problem either. It is also very stodgy and warms well on cold winter days. I thought that this traditional dish could be easily transformed into a more elaborate version by rethinking some of the main components and by restructuring the dish. Below you see my result.
One of the main ingredients, namely Pinkel is actually so local, that it is unknown and impossible to get outside of North Germany. Thinking about a replacement I had the idea to cook oat dumplings and cut them into small sausage-like tubes. First I baked an oat bread replacing 20% of the wheat flour by freshly ground oat. On the next day, I diced the bread and dried it in the oven. This was a necessary step, because otherwise the dumpling base would have been too wet and mushy when I added the eggs and the milk. Right before assembling and serving the dish, I roasted the dumpling tubes in butter which resulted in a nice crunchy outside and soft interior.
Since the Pinkel sausage contains pork meat, I used pork tenderloin and a sauce made from pork stock as a more elaborate replacement. I prepared the kale as a puree with some garlic, which resulted in a spinach-like garnish. Since onions are a major ingredient in the traditional recipe, I braised some shallots. To add some freshness I added a small amount of vinegar to the shallots. Since I skipped a large amount of fat originally contained in the Pinkel sausage, my new transformed version of “Grünkohl mit Pinkel” turned out much lighter and more easy to digest than the traditional one.
Kale with Oat Dumplings, Shallots and Pork Tenderloin
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Yield: 2 portions
200 g pork tenderloin
150 ml pork stock
3-4 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic
150 g oat bread
100 ml milk
4-6 sprigs parsley greens
4 tbsp oatmeal
6 stalks kale
1 tsp créme fraiche
1/2 tsp vinegar
freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
For the oat dumplings
If you couldn't get a bread with oatmeal then pick your favorite recipe for white bread and replace 20% of the flour by freshly ground oat flour.
Dice the bread and dry in a 100°C / 210 F hot oven. Finely chop a half shallot and a garlic clove and sauté in a small pan on 1 tbsp butter. Pour over the milk and remove the pan from the heat. Put the dried bread cubes in a bowl and pour over the shallot milk. Add 2 eggs and mix the ingredients in the bowl with your hands. Leave the bread to soak up the liquid for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile wash the parsley and shake it dry. Pick the leaves and discard the stems. Finely chop the leaves and add to the dumpling base with 4 tbsp oatmeal. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Strip off a sheet of aluminium foil and put it with its shiny surface up on the working surface. Cover with a layer of clingfilm. Put the dumpling base on the clingfilm and wrap it tightly first in the clingfilm and afterwards in the aluminium foil. You should get a 5-6cm thick tube. Wrap both ends tightly and cook in hot but not boiling water for 25-30 minutes. Chill to room temperature after cooking. Cut the dumpling in 6cm long cylinders and using an apple core remover cut out 6-8 tubes. Refrigerate.
For the shallots
Peel 4 equally sized small shallots. In a small pot toss the shallots in 1 tsp butter. Add 50ml stock and season with salt. Cover halfway with a lid and simmer for 2 hours. Regularly turn the shallots. If the liquid evaporates, add 1-2 tbsp water. Season with 1/2 tsp vinegar just before serving the dish.
For the kale puree
Wash the kale, pick the leaves and discard the stems. Cook the leaves in boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes until tender, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Chill the leaves in ice water. Drain the leaves and coarsely chop them so they won't wrap around your blenders knife.
Finely chop a half shallot and a garlic clove and sauté in 1 tbsp butter. Chill to room temperature and add with 1 tsp créme fraiche to the kale. Blend into a very fine puree. Add as much reserved cooking liquid as required to form a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving.
For the pork
The meat should have room temperature. Discard all sinews from the meat. Brown the meat over high heat in a small pan on 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 3-4 sprigs thyme and a crushed garlic clove. Transfer the thyme and garlic on a warm plate and put the tenderloin on top of it. Bake the tenderloin at 90°C / 195 F in the oven for 40 minutes.
Add 100ml stock to the pan you used for roasting the meat and scrape off the browned parts. Reduce the stock to half and season with salt and pepper. Spoon some reduced stock on the meat in the oven every 10 minutes. If no more stock is left in the pan, glaze the meat with the stock beneath on the plate.
When the 40 minutes baking time are over, turn off the oven and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes in the warm oven.
Warm the kale puree in a small pot, stirring regularly. Brown the oat dumplings on all sides in a small pan in 1 tbsp butter.
Spread 2 tbsp kale puree on warm plates and add 3 oat dumplings and 2 shallots on top. Slice the meat and add 3 slices on top of the dumplings and shallots. Sprinkle with some jus from the plate the meat was baked on.